A useful and thoughtful reflection on the elemental principles of business success.

SALES FIRST!

GROWING OUR COMPANY THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY: THE COLORMATRIX STORY

Two entrepreneurs chronicle the challenges of their joint enterprise and their winning formula in this memoir.

When Haugh and Shaughnessy first decided to start their own business together, selling liquid colorants, the odds were stacked against them. They were inexperienced and underfinanced, operating out of Cleveland, Ohio, a lackluster emblem of the Rust Belt’s economic doldrums. But they did have the “scrappy desire to be our own bosses” and the benefit of an “enduring, colorful plastic boom.” They chart the gradual rise of their company—originally Rosemar of Ohio and finally ColorMatrix—from a startup with a makeshift laboratory in a garage to a major company that expanded into Europe, Asia, and South America and was bought for nearly a half-billion dollars. They cleared some extraordinary hurdles—at one point, a disgruntled employee falsely accused them of using a chemical dangerous to consumers, and, as a result, they were raided by the FBI and threatened with imprisonment, enduring a “year of indescribable angst.” At the heart of this edifying and informative remembrance is their company’s strategy—“Sales First!”—which forgoes the raising of capital by investors in favor of aggressively “turning customer opportunities into sales.” They faithfully adhered to some basic entrepreneurial values as well: “We made chemistry, polymer science, process expertise, consistent production, and extreme customer service the combination for our success. We didn’t invent the wheel. Our product was a better version of something that already existed.” This is a lucidly conveyed account, avoiding torturously hypertechnical business parlance even when discussing subjects like tax abatements and loan financing. The authors’ story is refreshingly free of gimmicky strategies or bombastic revelations—they are remarkably straightforward and admirably humble. This should be a helpful guide to anyone else blessed with entrepreneurial gumption and a good idea but little else.

A useful and thoughtful reflection on the elemental principles of business success.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73559-990-8

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Braun Collection

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A satisfyingly heartfelt tribute to a thoroughly remarkable man.

A WILD IDEA

Investigative reporter Franklin recounts the life of the free-spirited millionaire entrepreneur who used his fabulous wealth in the fight to save nature.

One constant in the epic life of North Face founder Doug Tompkins (1943-2015) was his enduring love of the outdoors. The son of a successful antiques dealer, he grew up in the countryside of Millbrook, New York (Timothy Leary was a neighbor), where he cultivated his love of the natural world. His contrarian ways eventually led to his expulsion from high school just weeks before graduation. Tompkins headed West, where he baled hay in Montana, raced Olympic skiers in the Rockies, and took up rock climbing in California. He also “hitchhiked by airplane throughout South America.” Tompkins ended up in San Francisco, where, by the mid-1960s, the skiing and climbing supplies business he started with the help of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard suddenly began to boom. He was a charismatic businessman, and every one of his ventures after that—from his wife’s Plain Jane dress company to his own Esprit clothing brand—was successful. But his Midas touch never changed his passion for travel and adventure—e.g., flying his Cessna, sometimes with his family, but often, to the detriment of his marriage, solo. In the early 1990s, Tompkins bought property in southern Chile and fell in love with its pristine beauty. His outrage over the resource extraction–based nature of the Chilean government’s policies fueled his desire to protect the land. In the years that followed, he became an outspoken, sometimes reviled conservationist dedicated to using his fortune to transform thousands of acres of Patagonia into national parks. The great strengths of this timely, well-researched book lie not just in the author’s detailed characterization of Tompkins’ complex personality, but also in the celebration of his singularly dynamic crusade to save the environment.

A satisfyingly heartfelt tribute to a thoroughly remarkable man.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-296412-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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